Stockton Springs mother charged in death of young son, bail set at $150,000

Tue, 06/29/2021 - 8:15pm

    BELFAST — Grim details have emerged in the alleged murder of three-year-old Maddox Williams, whose mother has been charged with the crime. 

    Jessica Williams, 35, who has also used the surnames Johnson and Trefethen, was arrested and charged with knowing and intentional murder in relation to the June 20, death of her young son.

    Williams’ bail has been set at $150,000 with no surety. Should she make bail, Williams would be barred from having contact with children under the age of 14, among other conditions.

    The cause of death of Maddox Williams was determined to be multiple blunt force trauma, and the manner of death was determined to be non-accidental inflicted trauma, according to his autopsy report.

    In an affidavit in support of a probable cause filed by Maine State Police Detective Hugh Landry June 24, some of the alleged facts of the case are laid out. 

    According to the affidavit, it was around 1 p.m., June 20, that Williams and her mother transported Maddox to the hospital, with Williams allegedly telling hospital staff that the boy had been knocked down by a dog leash and kicked by his 8-year-old sister.

    Maddox was not breathing and had no pulse when he arrived and doctors were unable to resuscitate him, according to the affidavit. 

    Sergeant Christopher Tremblay, of the MSP, responded to Williams’ residence on Cross Lane in Stockton Springs and spoke with Jessica Williams’ mother, Sherry Johnson. Williams was not present at the residence, the report said.

    Tremblay reported that Johnson told him that she received a phone call from Jessica Williams earlier that day, around 11:42 a.m., during which Williams asked her mother to come to her house because Maddox wasn’t feeling well and “didn’t look well,” according to the affidavit. 

    When Johnson arrived at the residence she allegedly observed Maddox on the couch, groaning.

    Approximately 10 minutes later Johnson and Williams decided to take Maddox to the hospital, which Johnson said is roughly 15 minutes away from the home. According to the affidavit, Johnson said that Maddox was conscious and talking on the way to the hospital, but stopped breathing around the time they pulled into the parking lot of Waldo County General Hospital. 

    Johnson told Tremblay that hospital staff worked on Maddox for about an hour and were unable to resuscitate him, the report said. Johnson and Williams left the hospital after being told Maddox had died, at approximately 2:40 p.m.  Williams reportedly told Johnson that she wanted to be alone, and was dropped off at the pier located on Steamboat Landing in Searsport, according to Johnson’s statement to police.

    Sergeant Tremblay spoke with Jason Trefethen, who is the father of three of Williams’ children, the same day, who stated he lived in a camper located on the property on Cross Lane in Stockton Springs. According to the affidavit, he is not the father of Maddox. The father of Maddox is Andrew Williams, who is currently incarcerated, according to court documents.

    According to the affidavit, Trefethen stated he saw Maddox playing outside with the other children around 10 a.m., June 20, and that about a half-hour later Williams’ came and asked him to watch the other children so she could take Maddox to the hospital. 

    Trefethen reportedly stated that Williams’ mother arrived to drive Maddox to the hospital, and when they left Maddox appeared “lethargic.” Trefethen said Maddox was conscious, though the child did not respond when he said goodbye as they left for the hospital. 

    Maine State Police Detective Ryan Brockway spoke with Williams and with a child, who was reportedly playing with Maddox prior to his trip to the hospital. 

    The child reportedly stated that she and Maddox had been running while holding hands and that Maddox fell and hit his head on a rock, which she reportedly pointed out to investigators. She stated Maddox then went inside to get a drink, according to the affidavit. 

    Multiple laws enforcement attempts were unsuccessful in locating Williams June 20. 

    An autopsy of Maddox’s body was completed by Dr. Funte, of the Maine Medical Examiner’s Office. Detective Hugh Landry attended the exam, where the following observations were made by Funte. 

    According to the affidavit, bruises were observed on Maddox’s arms, legs, abdomen, and head. Maddox had three partially healed abrasions on his face and forehead, which were reportedly covered in stick-on tattoos. He also had deep tissue bruising on his buttocks and internal bleeding in his abdomen. Dr. Funte reportedly observed bowel contents mixed with blood, which indicates a rupture of the bowel. 

    Additionally, Maddox had bleeding in his brain and was missing three teeth, which appeared to be “at least two separate events.”

    An abrasion on the inside of his lips aligned with the missing teeth, which is indicative of facial impact,” according to the affidavit.

    While two of the teeth appeared to have been missing for a longer period, one of the teeth appeared to have been knocked out within two days of Maddox’s death. According to the affidavit, Maddox’s adult teeth were not yet grown into a position to push the baby teeth out. 

    During the autopsy, it was also discovered that Maddox’s spine was fractured.  Dr. Funte reportedly determined that the injuries were severe and would occur as the result of a serious car accident. According to Funte, Maddox’s injuries were indicative of inflicted injuries and were not consistent with a fall, being kicked in the stomach, or being knocked down. 

    Detectives spoke with Sherry Johnson again June 21, who initially stated she didn’t know where Jessica was, court documents said.

    Johnson eventually said that she had not dropped Jessica off at the pier. Instead, Johnson drove Jessica to her own home on Denslow Drive in Stockton Springs. Jessica reportedly left the residence around 9:30 a.m., June 21, and her mother reportedly stated she did not know where her daughter was currently. This version of events was corroborated when detectives reviewed Johnson’s security system, ultimately showing an unknown vehicle pick her up from the residence, documents said.

    On June 23, MSP detectives went to Sherry Johnson’s home, and although she initially denied her daughter was inside, relented when police asked if they could look inside the residence, the affidavit said. Eventually, detectives entered the residence to speak with Jessica, who had declined to exit the home to speak with them. 

    When detectives entered the home, Jessica was seated at a kitchen table, according to the affidavit. There, Jessica reportedly stated that she was the mother of Maddox Williams, and had custody of him since sometime in March. 

    According to Jessica Williams, the day of Maddox’s death he had been playing outside when his sister came inside and stated that Maddox had been knocked down by the puppy. Jessica said Maddox then came into the house reporting that his tummy hurt, which led Jessica to believe that he was hungry. Jessica stated that she gave him cereal, but that he only picked at the snack. Williams stated it was then that she called her mother to come down and take Maddox to the hospital, where she allegedly told detectives she stayed the whole time staff was working to save the boy, according to the affidavit. 

    Jessica also reportedly told detectives that Maddox bruised easily, and all of her children wore stick-on tattoos. She reportedly stated that Maddox had fallen from a trampoline several days earlier, landing in grass and that he seemed fine after the incident. 

    Detective Landry spoke with Dr. Funte again June 23 who stated that Maddox’s injuries were too severe to be caused by kids playing, falling from a trampoline, or being knocked down by a puppy. Jessica Williams was arrested at her mother’s home later the same day. 

    The terms of her probation are reviewable upon request.  

     Jessica Williams is scheduled to appear in Unified Criminal Court Oct. 28. 

    She is being represented by lawyers Jeffrey C. Toothaker and Caitlyn Smith.

    Justice Robert Murray has been assigned to hear the case. 

    Erica Thoms can be reached at